19 June 2010

Dentist at war

No attempt to find any anniversary today; instead I'm going to tell you about my great-uncle Millice Albert Freeman, the "dentist at war" of the title.

The second son of Albert (Bert) & Blanche (nee Culpin), Millice was born in Manor Park, London in 1908.  I'm not entirely sure when the family returned to Cambridge but they were still in Manor Park in the 1911 census.  I *do* know that Millice and his older brother Eddie both went to the Cambridge & County School for Boys, in Hills Road and one of the reasons I'm writing about Millice is that I received another photo of him last week.  Taken in 1924/1925, it shows the school rugby team of that year and Millice is proudly sitting second right.  (I will put the photo up on my website later - it probably won't be very clear here.)  According to his son, Millice was a keen rugby player - something else I learned this week.

He qualified as a Dental Surgeon and, by 1933, was practising at Scroope Terrace in Cambridge.  Also in that year, he married Rosamond Allman in Streatham (that's the London one, not the one just down the road) and that merited a short article in the Cambridge Daily News:-
A wedding of considerable interest to Cambridge took place at the Church of the English Martyrs, Mitcham Lane, Streatham, on September 16th, when Mr Millice Albert Freeman L.D.S., younger son of Mr and Mrs AJE Freeman, of "Seatoller", Hills Road, Cambridge, was married to Miss Rosamond May Allman, younger daughter of Mr and Mrs FJ Allman, of 50 Copley Park, Streatham.
The service was conducted by the Rev. Father Mason, who celebrated the Nuptial Mass.

The bride, who was led to the altar by her father, was charmingly attired in a dress of shell pink satin with a wreath of orange blossom and veil to match. She carried a sheaf of Madonna lillies and white heather. The train bearers were Master Robert and Miss Jean Adamson, both being dressed in pale blue satin. Miss Sylvia Allman (sister of the bride) acted as bridesmaid, her dress being of ice blue satin and silk net. She carried a bouquet of pink carnations.
The duties of best man were ably carried out by Mr Leslie Diblin.
After the service a reception was held at St Leonard's Hall, and was attended by about 100 guests and later the happy couple left for their honeymoon, which is being spent in Scotland.
They were the recipients of numerous useful presents.

I love that last sentence . . . . !  

And then we get to the war and Millice joined the Royal Army Dental Corps serving, it turned out, in the Far East.  In 1944 he was awarded the Military Cross (MC) and I will finish today's entry with the citation:-

On the 15th May, while conducting Stretcher Bearers down a track, leading from the Kohima Naga village area to the Zubza vally, mortar fire was opened on the party. Captain Freeman might well have taken cover with others, but he immediately attended to the freshly wounded patients and bearers instead, moving from one to another with complete disregard of personal safety while mortar bombs continued to fall on the track. I witnessed Captain Freeman's behaviour on this occasion and undoubtedly by his action he prevented further casualties. Captain Freeman is strongly recommended for the award of the MC in recognition of his gallant behaviour on 15th May 1944.

More soon. 

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